My Terrifying Experience with Latin America's Abortion Laws

In my case, my U.S. passport let me quickly fly home to New York, where an ultrasound showed a womb full of blood that wasn't emptying. An amazingly kind doctor performed a vacuum procedure to safely clear the uterus, while a nurse held my hand.

But had I stayed in small-town Mexico? Would I have ended up drinking the concoction Aracely suggested—a brew of local herbs mixed with sketchy over-the-counter pills? Would I have waited and ended up with sepsis (a life-threatening infection when the fetus dies but doesn't leave the uterus)?

These are the terrible choices women like Beatriz still face, in a region where male judges, politicians, and Catholic Church officials continue to choose harsh laws over women's health.

Latin America is advancing in so many ways—yet in this area, change has been slow to come. For each woman at risk, it's so urgent. It's time the Vatican respects women's rights. And it's time our governments stop caving to the church's pressure.

Recent changes to abortion law in Uruguay and Brazil are a step in the right direction. But for the rest, it's not enough.

Until every Latina can access the same care I got in the U.S., so many of us could be Beatriz. All of us should care.